The Groundsman

June 2016

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Visit for more information and digital editions EU REFERENDUM 28 the Groundsman June 2016 he majority of IOG members recently surveyed say they want Britain to exit the European Union, with 62 per cent of respondents saying the nation should vote to leave EU membership while 38 per cent said we should stay. From the 577 responses to the online survey – in which IOG members were asked 'Should the UK stay within the EU?' and 'How do you think a decision to leave the EU could affect your role in groundsmanship?', a number of respondents added some interesting comments. While some pointed out that in their view "not enough clear information has been provided to the voting public to make a considered decision", many others were "not sure" of the consequences of leaving and some said they thought that a vote to exit would have "absolutely no affect" on their role. One opinion that came through loud and clear, however, was the view that leaving the EU would mean "a lot less legislation to worry about" – though one green spaces manager suggested "we could lose EU legislation that protects the environment" and a finance officer said that EU trade agreements actually help to minimise bureaucracy and that an exit would make trade more difficult. In addition, there was also a body of opinion that costs would rise. Vote to leave Those who suggested we leave the EU expounded thoughts of "reduced legislation and bureaucracy", particularly surrounding the use of pesticides. One consultant commented: "I think we are perfectly capable of policing the use T IOG members have their say In the build up to this month's referendum on whether Britain should exit the European Union, a poll of IOG members showed support for leaving the EU By: Colin Hoskins of chemicals and fertilisers. We have BASIS, IOG and BIGGA, for example, which could help. We are all aware of the consequences with the over-use of fertilisers and chemicals – we do not need the EU." According to a head groundsman: "It would be interesting to see what controls are levelled on chemicals as Europe seems to be blamed for the loss of many chemicals that were regularly used by groundsmen." A deputy head greenkeeper said "we could get a more relaxed approach to fungicides and pesticides", while a volunteer groundsman added: "It would mean UK control over the turf care industry, in which the UK has more interest than most, if not all, EU member states. This would mean that industry is more likely to have a greater influence on decisions which affect it, for example the control of pesticides." Another volunteer groundsman said that "hopefully, British laws would allow use of chemicals that are now banned, which were better than products currently on the market". A commentator from the golf sector said: "I believe an independent England will be fiscally better off. Individuals will be wealthier and they will have more available funds for leisure activities". He added: "There would be less moronic edicts coming out of Brussels dictating environmental policies which impact on our day-to-day operations." A number of respondents – groundsmen and contractors - say that an exit from Europe "will not affect my role", with one involved in the supervision of contracts commenting "it would allow me to do more with less worry about paperwork". One estates manager, who suggests leaving the EU, said "while this could possibly limit the amount of collaborative research which enhances our understanding of management techniques, this may be replaced by new ventures with non-traditional partners such as Chinese universities or organisations". Stay in Among those who voted to stay in, one grounds manager suggested "if we leave it would mean that it would be less likely to share information" – a trait commented on by a training expert: "The level of excellence of groundsmanship in the UK is penetrating Europe and if we leave the EU then the transfer of knowledge will be much more difficult." Those involved in machinery manufacture and supply generally suggested it would be better to stay in; one equipment importer said an exit "would increase the volatility of currency" while another expressed concerns over the supply of components currently sourced Europe, saying increased costs (via higher duties, for example) would have to be passed on to customers. However, one dealer commented that the effects of leaving "would be marginal as we get our machines and parts from UK distributors". A greenkeeper pointed out: "Not a single piece of machinery I use is made in the UK - golf is an international industry and to leave the EU would be industrial suicide." Added an assistant groundsman: "The cost of materials would increase and so, too, would the cost of living which I fear would make the cost of cricket too much for some participants."

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